Art and Commerce

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LA County's Museum of Art is in the midst of controversy over the funding of its current exhibition: "Charles and Ray Eames: a Legacy of Invention." Nobody disputes the importance of Eames' designs. The crowds are big, and business is brisk at the gift shop, where Eames chairs and other furniture-just like those on display--are also on sale. But, according to some critics, that's the rub-because the exhibit itself was financed not by a disinterested party, but by two companies licensed to sell Eames-designed products. Is that a conflict of interest, or has LACMA somehow maintained the independence of its artistic display from its commercial outlet? LACMA's not the only public museum now facing such questions. Are real issues being raised, or will there always be an unbreakable tie between commerce and culture?
  • Newsmaker: Last week, a federal judge ruled that the LAPD can be sued under the RICO statute. If the ruling stands, plaintiffs could go back 10 years to look for violations of civil rights and other laws. If the city lost cases, it would have to pay three times the damages assessed. City Attorney James Hahn joins us to discuss his request of the judge for permission to appeal his ruling.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Mike Miller of Aviation Daily discusses today's New York Times which reports that this summer's maddening delays and cancellations of flights on most airlines were predictable - and that bad weather only made things worse.



Warren Olney


Frances Anderton